Nerf Bars – A Comprehensive Guide


Have you ever seen a huge truck or an SUV with those shiny tubes on the sides? These shiny tubes seem to be a big deal in the truck market, as there are tons of them and some of you don’t know what their purpose is. First things first, these are called nerf bars and they’re here to help you get in and out of your vehicle, aside from giving your SUV that sleek, powerful, and elegant look.

Some people think these are just ordinary chrome tubes but nerf bars are much more than that and their origin might surprise you. In this article, we’ll examine what nerf bars are, what’s their purpose, what is their origin, and much more. We suggest you sit back, relax, and come with us on a voyage in which we’ll teach you a valuable lesson if you plan on buying one of these.

Nerf Bars – A Comprehensive Guide
Nerf Bars – A Comprehensive Guide

What Does Nerf Bar Mean?

So, what does it mean? And why are there nerf bars and running boards when they look all the same? Well, let’s just say that these two are very similar and that both of them serve the same purpose. If you don’t know what running boards are, we have another article comparing the differences between these two, which you can read in our Nerf Bars vs. Running Boards article. Now, back on the topic. Nerf bars aren’t made of nerf material that’s used to make baseballs, frisbees, and soft footballs. That’s obvious but it needs to be pointed out.

This material isn’t related to nerf bars in any sense! What nerf is related to are races and racing cars. Back in the day, nerf bars were tubular devices that fitted to the side of the single-seater racing car. From there, the name ‘nerf bar’ originated and was quickly adopted in a wider audience.

Why do They Call them ’Nerf Bars’?


Believe it or not, there’s a special term in racing called nerfing. Nerf is a racing term that refers to a bump between two vehicles. When a certain racer bumps into another car and overtakes it, it’s called nerfing. Without nerf bars, there would be a contact between the tires of two vehicles, which could damage not only the tires but also send one of the drivers spinning. This is why nerf bars are called… well, nerf bars! Their importance was and still is crucial and beneficial for racers.

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It can not only protect your car but also save your life. Out of the racing stages, it’s also beneficial for those who drive across various terrains or those who are a bit reckless and tend to scratch their cars. Nerf bars protect both your car body and its wheels but there are some limits. For example, if you scratch a concrete wall or barrier, nerf bars can be damaged, so you’ll need to replace them.

What Size Nerf Bars Should I Get?


Nerf bars come in a variety of sizes. However, we should cover the basics, which apply to every nerf bar you purchase. The first length we’re going to talk about is the cab length. As its name implies, this length is only for the main cab area and fits there perfectly. It has its own step pad, which helps the driver or any other person climb the truck easier.

Another common size is what we call wheel-to-wheel. Wheel-to-wheel nerf bars are larger and as its name says, it extends from the front to the rear wheel of the truck. This is great for those who want to access the bed area easily. With these nerf bars, you can climb to the bed area and take a nap within a seconds and without them, you’ll have to access the bed from the inside, which can be uncomfortable. Furthermore, some truck owners tend to stash their toolboxes or other items at the back of the truck’s cabin, in which case wheel-to-wheel nerf bars can help.

These are the basic sizes but they are enough to make you think about your choice. If you have a small truck or SUV with no bed at the back, you don’t need wheel-to-wheel nerf bars. In the opposite case, we would suggest opting for them.

How Much Weight Can Nerf Bars Hold?


Nerf bars can hold about 300 lbs or more, which is very similar to running boards. However, this all depends on the material, as well as the size of your nerf bars. For example, if your nerf bars are supported by the steel construction, as well as some heavy-duty mount brackets, you can expect them to sustain more than 300 lbs. In the case of the aluminum support frame, the maximum load can extend to 500 lbs, which is more than enough unless you’re a whale, sumo wrestler or something like that.

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Best Nerf Bars of 2019

For a comprehensive Best Nerf Bars Review see here.

In this section, we’re going to take a look at a couple of great choices for truck/SUV owners when it comes to high-quality nerf bars.

  1. Ionic Pro Series 5“ Stainless Curved Nerf Bars

When looking for some quality nerf bars, we tend to overlook one thing – aesthetics. Your nerf bars should be both eye-appealing and functional, which is what these 5-inch Ionic nerf bars manage to achieve. Due to the curved oval tube design, these nerf bars are practical for every truck. They come with dual-coated powder coat finish, which adds style and durability, even in heavy day-to-day use. The anti-slip step pads are also here and aside from making it safe for you to get in and out, they perfectly complement the shininess of the nerf bars.

With the weight capacity of up to 350 pounds, you can safely eat your burgers, French fries, and ice cream. Even if you’re fat, these nerf bars will love you and support you – in the most literal sense possible! To put the icing on the cake, they require no drilling and they come with the proprietary brackets which you only need to screw to the truck. The only problem is that they look so gorgeous that you might not want to step on them and use them every day.

  1. Westin Signature Chrome Nerf Bar

In the truck accessories industry, Westin is one of the names that echo with a deafening sound. When buying Westin nerf bars or running boards, the last thing you’ll need is to worry about build quality, design, and style. These are wheel-to-wheel nerf bars with a beautiful chrome finish, to add more shininess to your car and make them more noticeable. Although this is a 3-inch nerf bar, this is by no means a downside, as they’re still comfortable to use, thanks to high-quality step pads for extra protection. Easy installation is also here, so you don’t need to drill your precious truck to attach them successfully.

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The interesting thing about step pads is that they’re mounted on the recessed areas, rather than being cut out. This means that no durability is sacrificed because of looks. All in all, Westin Signature Chrome Nerf Bar is an excellent choice for those who want effortless installation, high durability, and great value for money backed up with a 3-year warranty.

  1. N-Fab T1464R Nerf Bar

N-Fab is a company that got its name because of durably nerf bars. This one is no different, with the addition of minimalistic look that perfectly complements your SUV or truck. The nerf bar is produced in one piece, with nothing attached additionally, making it one of the most durable nerf bars on our list. This also brings us to another huge benefit – its weight capacity of 465 lbs. Sure, it’s overkill but why not have it? You never know when it’s going to be needed. There are no trade-offs here since T1464R supports effortless installation, which will take you less than half an hour.

We know that time is the most valuable resource and guys from N-Fab know this too! That’s why devoting only a half an hour of your time gives you plenty of benefits. No drilling, just tightening a few screws and you’re good to go. If your SUV could talk, he would probably thank you for this upgrade and without doubt, he will enjoy the way people look at him.



Now that you can brag about all this knowledge about nerf bars, it’s easy to go ahead and choose the ones that you desire. Nerf bars can last you a lifetime and in many cases, you get a several-year warranty from the manufacturer. Thanks to the usefulness and beauty that nerf bars bring to your truck, it’s easy to see why people fall in love with them so quickly. Yet, they still say it’s hard to find true love – nonsense! You may also want to read Best Running Boards Reviews.